Should You Keep Taking Your Blood Pressure Meds?

Hauke-Christian Dittrich/DPA via ZUMA

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Like millions of other middle-aged guys, I have high blood pressure. This is a problem:

Scientists are baffled by how the coronavirus attacks the body — killing many patients while barely affecting others. But some are tantalized by a clue: A disproportionate number of patients hospitalized by COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, have high blood pressure….An April 8 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 72% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients 65 or older had hypertension.

Luckily for me, my hypertension is well controlled using a small dose of an ACE inhibitor called Zestril. So I should be in pretty—

Researchers agree that [hypertension] drugs affect the same pathways that the novel coronavirus takes to enter the lungs and heart. They differ on whether those drugs open the door to the virus or protect against it….The drugs are known as ACE inhibitors and ARBs, broad categories that include Vasotec, Valsartan, Irbesartan, as well as their generic versions. In a recent interview with a medical journal, Anthony Fauci — the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert — cited a report showing similarly high rates of hypertension among COVID-19 patients who died in Italy and suggested the medicines, rather than the underlying condition, may act as an accelerant for the virus.

Well, that’s just great. Option 1: Hypertension makes the coronavirus more deadly, so take your meds! Option 2: No, it’s the meds that make the coronavirus more deadly, so stop taking them right away!

I would like someone to figure this out very quickly. Thank you.

UPDATE: A couple of studies out of China suggest that hypertension really is at fault, not hypertension drugs. More here.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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